Jupiter Helped Creation of Earth, Mars by Knocking Off Super Earths

Jupiter Helped Creation of Earth, Mars by Knocking Off Super Earths

Jupiter Helped Creation of Earth, Mars by Knocking Off Super Earths 

Washington: Jupiter is not just the biggest planet in the solar system, it is also a planet that may be behind the formation of our earth, or contributed in its formation. A latest study says that the fifth planet from the sun might be behind destroying super earth in the solar system. The study says that the massive planet pushed them to the sun and forced their destruction.

The study claims that following the destruction of super earths, a new world order of sorts was achieved with the generation of inner planets. And to be true this generation of inner planets include Earth, besides of course Mars. These two planets were actually formed from the depleted material that was left behind of the knocked off super earths. In the meantime the same study also throws ample light on why the terrestrial planets in our solar system have such relatively low masses compared to the planets orbiting other Sun-like stars.

While talking about the development lead author of the study Konstantin Batygin says, “Our work suggests that Jupiter’s inward-outward migration could have destroyed a first generation of planets and set the stage for the formation of the mass-depleted terrestrial planets that our solar system has today”. Batygin is an assistant professor of planetary science at California Institute of Technology and a famed astronomer.

solar eruptionHe goes on to add that almost as many as half of Sun-like stars in our galactic neighbourhood have orbiting planets. In our solar system, very little lies within Mercury’s orbit; there is only a little debris – probably near-Earth asteroids that moved further inward – but certainly no planets. That is in sharp contrast with what astronomers see in most planetary systems. According to Batygin and colleagues, Jupiter is critical to understanding how the solar system came to be the way it is today. Their model incorporates ‘the Grand Tack scenario’, proposed by another team of astronomers in 2011.

It is needless to say that researchers are very excited with the development. In that scenario, Jupiter first migrated inward toward the Sun until the formation of Saturn caused it to reverse course and migrate outward to its current position. Batygin performed numerical calculations to see what would happen if a set of rocky planets with close-in orbits had formed prior to Jupiter’s inward migration. At that time, it’s plausible that rocky planets with deep atmospheres would have been forming close to the Sun from a dense disk of gas and dust, on their way to becoming typical “super-Earths” – planets larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune.

Researchers further claim that as Jupiter moved inward, however, gravitational perturbations from the giant planet would have swept the inner planets (and smaller planetesimals and asteroids) into close-knit, overlapping orbits, setting off a series of collisions that smashed all the nascent planets into pieces. The resulting debris would then have spiralled into the Sun under the influence of a strong “headwind” from the dense gas still swirling around the Sun. The ingoing avalanche would have destroyed any newly-formed super-Earths by driving them into the Sun.

The destruction of the massive super earth may be the reason of formation of second generation of inner later. This happened from the depleted material that was left behind, consistent with evidence that our solar system’s inner planets are younger than the outer planets. The resulting inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars – are also less massive and have much thinner atmospheres than would otherwise be expected, said Gregory Laughlin from the University of California – Santa Cruz.

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